What makes a good commuter bicycle?

One of the great things about the bicycle is how efficient it is – for the amount of energy required, there is no more effective mode of transport than your humble bike.  And yes, you really can use pretty-much any bike to commute to work.  However, there’s certainly a variety of things you may want to consider to make your ride2work a little easier.

Clothing.  All around the planet, people ride to and from work in their work clothes.  And certainly, if your distance is not too far, and the weather is amenable, it’s very achievable.  However, on wet or warmer days, or if you commute is longer, some more activity-oriented clothing is handy.  Regular active wear is great but, again, the longer the distance the more that bike-specific clothing makes sense.

All weather? No matter what the season, there’s always the risk of rain or even water on the roads and paths from other means.  If you want to keep the muck off you, and your bike (for lower maintenance) then we’d always suggest your bike should have mudguards (or fenders, if you prefer the American term).  There’s various different types available however the most effective are full length guards on front and rear – a good front guard will even be quite effective at keeping your feet dry.

Your cargo. Many riders use a standard backpack, something like what you probably already have.  They’re convenient, and effective.  However, they position the weight high, and ultimately, on your tail, so can increase any issues you may have with your saddle.  Also, coming into the warmer months, that interface with your back and shoulders will always be a source of sweat.  So, if you find commuting by bike is for you, consider putting your load on a rack. You can ride sweat-free more often, and your undercarriage will thank you.

Puncture resistant tyres. No-one likes punctures.  Puncture-resistant tyres may cost a little more, and may be a little heavier, but most regular commuters are  more than happy to offset that with the piece of mind that they provide.  Also, most premium tyres come with reflective sidewalls, to aid in you being seen.

What’s your distance? For short distances, it really doesn’t matter what you ride – any bike can be your commuter.  And indeed, a more upright ride can be more comfortable, and provide better vision  around you for safety.  If your commute is longer, then a bike more-suited to distance, potentially a flat-bar bike with a more streamlined geometry or even a bike with drop bars like you’d find on a road bike could serve you better.  Even longer distances? Consider going multi-modal with a folding bike, or get a bit of help for a sweat-free commute on an eBike. Carrying a more of load?  An adventure bike or a tourer could well be worthwhile!